Agritourism will be the topic of a University of Minnesota Extension seminar Sept. 23 at Sapsucker Farms near Mora.
Those who dream of having a destination small farm where children explore corn mazes, groups of friends gather to eat wood-fired pizza and drink cider from your own apple trees, or families come to spend a weekend to experience life in the country might be interested in the program.
The U.S. Census of Agriculture shows an increasing trend in agritourism and related recreational services. Agritourism income grew by 67% from 2007 to 2017. The 2017 Census of Agriculture showed 28,575 farms offered agritourism, resulting in $949 million in sales.
To capitalize on that growth requires lots of planning and research. From market research to zoning laws, people interested in starting an agritourism business must consider food safety, business planning and accessing the right property before investing capital and time and potentially changing their family’s life for years to come.
The Sept. 23 program will offer the chance to speak with service providers, lenders and others who can assist. Participants will also tour Sapsucker Farms Cidery and explore their trails and sample their CSA and learn about their agritourism business.
Some topics that will be addressed are: market research, capital requirements, lending options, licensing, zoning, liability, food safety, animal/human safety, and lessons from successful businesses.